2017-08-03 - The Investment of Friendship
Originally Published 1999-09-02
Prov 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
There are a precious few people in my life I give the title of Friend. It is a word this world has expanded to include our acquaintances and co-workers. Most of these people are not enemies, but they are also not the kind of people who will drop everything for us in a time of need. A friend is someone you know and want to know better. You can tell each other things without expecting judgment when understanding or just an ear is really needed. Friends feel the pain the other is suffering in times of trial. It is understood that the other one will pray, but it is asked anyway so as not to assume.
Prov 18:24 A man of many friends comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
In a time of personal trial, your friends will bubble to the surface. Sacrifices are made in time and effort to be there, drop a note or make a call to check up on a friend or visit. I have read that most people will only ever have six to 12 very close friends in their lifetime. Of those, only two or three will make up an inner circle at one time. It may seem sad that there are so few. But these close friends are like diamonds on black velvet as they reflect the love of Jesus in the dark struggles of our mortal lives. It is, in part, their rarity that makes them valuable.
Prov 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.
One true measure of a friend is seen when trials come. Another way to know who is a real friend is to find the person who will look you in the eye and tell you that you're wrong about something important. Someone who will make excuses for you when it really counts is not being a faithful friend. Jesus pointed His finger right in Peter's face as said, "Get behind me Satan …" Oh how that must have stung to be publicly called on the carpet. Peter was being selfish where the salvation of the world was at stake. Peter had been wrong, but Jesus stuck by Peter. Within days, Peter was an eyewitness to the transfiguration of Jesus. The rebuke was properly taken to heart and the friendship was restored and deepened.
To invest in having and being a friend means that we must invest time, and invest ourselves. To invest ourselves, we become vulnerable developing trust through confidences shared and kept, sharing the wounds to our hearts. Because we are human, it means that we will make mistakes. In those mistakes, we will cause and be hurt. Sharing trials and talking through our hurts - giving space when it is needed, being honest with each other and growing with the other are all parts of friendship. Careful investment and a willingness to weather the storms that will come pays dividends that are wealth beyond counting. It is not all roses and sweets. Without the struggles and effort, the roses might not be appreciated nearly as much.
Lord Jesus - You showed us many facets of friendship, some not so easy to do. But there are few things in life that are worth doing that do not have a cost and a learning curve associated with them. The most priceless of these take a lifetime to achieve. Thank You for being the friend that sticks closer than a brother, to show us how to be that kind of friend. Make us imitators of You. Amen.
Grace & Peace,
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.